Locals part of world threshing record in 2019
BY DENNY SCOTT
Francois Latour, sometimes known as the Threshing King, made good on his drive to reclaim the Guinness Book of World Records title for having the most threshing machines operating together in one location on Aug. 11 of 2019, and several locals were there to play their part.
Joe Hallahan and Edgar Daer, alongside their significant others, made the trip to St. Albert, Ontario, near Ottawa, where 250 threshers from all over the country were scheduled to operate at the same time, reclaiming a title that Latour had held until a group in Manitoba had 139 running simultaneously in 2016.
Latour’s drive was not only to earn the world record, but also to raise money for breast cancer after he lost his wife to it years earlier. The event raised more than $100,000.
While threshing is something that Daer is keenly interested in, he also had a personal stake in the event, having lost his first wife to breast cancer.
The world-record attempt was a sight to behold, both Daer and Hallahan said, with Hallahan noting that, as the threshing machines were all pointing inwards in long lines, it made for a surreal scene as straw filled the air.
Most of the threshing was done by machines that would look completely at home in the live threshing demonstrations held at the annual reunion of the Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association, but some were a bit more unique.
“Mostly it was large threshers powered by tractors, but there were some steam engines, and one horse on a treadmill,” Daer said, with Hallahan saying the horse had a bright pink tail, in honour of breast cancer awareness. “It looked nice, with all the blower pipes facing each other and there were Canadian flags as far as the eye could see.”
For 15 minutes, the engines ran and for five consecutive minutes, 243 of the 250 engines operated, setting the new world record. Some, Hallahan said, ran into problems.
One engine stuck out, however, as it was painted pink in honour of breast cancer awareness. It made for a poignant reminder, Daer said, as it had names of people like his first wife who had been lost to breast cancer as well as some survivors. He said that it was pointed out to him that the survivors outnumbered those who were lost, showing that fundraisers like the event do make a difference.
The sound was impressive, they both said, as hundreds of engines and some hand-fed threshers performed, though nothing could drown out the cheering, Daer said.
Daer and Hallahan said they saw a lot of familiar faces at the event including two members of the Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association with machines at the event.
As they helped out, Hallahan and Daer, alongside their significant others, received commemorative pink shirts and Hallahan and Daer both received a specialized pitchfork, which they used to help feed hay that day.
Latour first claimed the world record in 2015 with 111 operating threshers before the group in Manitoba bested that mark a year later. Prior to Latour’s initial drive, the record was held by a Saskatchewan group which had 41 threshing machines operating simultaneously.
The event was somewhat of a reunion, according to reports, with large tents, entertainment, beverages and a dinner offered, as well as farm machinery displays.
Both Daer and Hallahan were able to visit the St. Albert Cheese Factory Co-op when they were at the site, and had fond memories of it.
Hallahan said it reminded him of when such an operation was in Blyth, and how impressive it was to watch vats of cheese be stirred.
Aside from the threshers, another world record was attempted at the site on Aug. 11, with Marie-Claire Ivanski trying to create the largest human chain, in the shape of a pink-ribbon motif for breast cancer awareness. Unfortunately, that attempt fell short of making the record books.